MARSEC incidents up nearly 50% year on year

In the Information Fusion Centre (IFC)’s Mid-Year Report for 2022, the IFC recorded a total of 1441 incident across all eight MARSEC categories from January to June 2022. This represents a 49.3% increase in the overall number of MARSEC incidents reported compared to 2021 (965 incidents) during the same period.

Established in April 2009, Singapore-based IFC is a regional Maritime Security (MARSEC) centre situated at the Changi Command and Control Centre (CC2C) and hosted by the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).

The report covers the eight MARSEC categories that IFC monitors:

  1. Theft, Robbery, and Piracy at Sea (TRAPS)
  2. Maritime Terrorism (MT)
  3. Maritime Incidents (MI)
  4. Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (IUUF)
  5. Contraband Smuggling (CS)
  6. Irregular Human Migration (IHM)
  7. Environmental Security (ENVSEC), and
  8. Cyber Security (CYBSEC).

It said that the increase in activity could be attributed to two factors:

  • the easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, which enabled a corresponding increase in maritime and illicit activities;
  • improved data collection and incident reporting to relevant authorities.

Irregular human migration saw the highest percentage increase amongst IFC’s eight MARSEC categories, possibly due to a combination of push and pull factors such as unstable economies and a lack of security in home countries, added to the lure of more promising outlooks abroad (job opportunities, greener pastures).

There was also an increase in Theft, Robbery & Piracy at Sea (TRAPS) incidents recorded in the first six months of 2022, with the Singapore Strait being the primary area of concern.

IFC noted that the modus operandi of these perpetrators was more aligned to that of petty crime than to piracy on the high seas, with most criminals avoiding confrontation and fleeing upon being sighted.

The IFC assessed that the general trend over the next six months of 2022 would remain similar to that observed in the earlier half of the year, as adverse weather conditions and COVID-related factors were expected to persist.